There are sights that strike fear into a wife’s heart, and many too many of them involve a truck, a rope, and a tree.
This particular incident had been brewing for quite some time. It dates back to our purchase of a relatively large boat, and a commensurately large truck. Together, they pushed the limits of our long, narrow, steep driveway. They could get up and down it, no problem, but they hit a lot of tree branches and rhododendrons along the way.
This morning, we took the boat out at the crack of dawn to go fishing for striped bass. Weather and batteries conspired against us, and we had to give it up and come home again. As we turned into the driveway, I noticed our fish net dangling from an oak limb overhead. It had been snagged out of its rod holder on the boat’s roof as we drove out and hung there as a testament to the driveway’s need of trimming.
The particular branch that snagged the net had been on Kevin’s radar for a long time. The tree it was attached to is sixty feet tall and dead, and he thought he could simply snap the limb off with a rope. It wasn’t a big limb, and — silly me — although I had some reservations about anything involving a truck, a rope, and a tree, I didn’t think too much could go wrong with this particular tree. Besides, the alternative was to get out the rope saw, and if there’s one tool in Kevin’s arsenal I hate, it’s the rope saw. (And you can read about the previous Tree Stooges episode that engendered that hostility.)
Since we hadn’t been able to go fishing, we’d spent the morning shoveling compost, and I was tired enough to want to skip the limb-snapping exercise, but Kevin still had enough energy to tackle it. He didn’t need my help, he said, so he went out to do it alone.
About ten minutes later, he came bursting into the house. “Honey!” he said, “Your husband’s a jackass!”
Pretty much every possible permutation of a truck, a rope, and a tree flashed through my mind. Since Kevin was standing in front of me, apparently unharmed, I knew we weren’t looking at the worst-case scenario, but there are scenarios this side of worst that I would prefer not to have to face on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
I sighed, put on my boots, and followed him out the door and up the driveway. He started telling me the story.
“So, I got the rope around the limb, just like I planned,” he said. “And I tied it to the front of the little truck and started to back up.”
“And then I heard this big crack, and the limb broke off right at the trunk, and came down in the driveway, just like I planned!”
Okay, we’re safe so far.
“And then I heard this even bigger crack!”
“And the WHOLE TREE started to come down!”
Oh shit. Images of destruction ran through my mind. It fell on the truck. It fell on a chicken. It fell across the driveway, and we better hope we can get the chainsaw started.
“And it fell right into the woods! It was perfect!”
Whew. All’s well that ends well, and at least we’ve both learned our lesson, and my husband recognizes the jackassness of snapping branches off really big trees using trucks.
Or so I thought. Turns out Kevin thinks that snapping branches off really big trees is the bomb, and an excellent way to keep the driveway clear. But only a jackass would do it without his wife there to get it on video.